Which trends from this year will still be around in 12 months’ time?

Today I have predictions from 20 professional communicators so you can see what your peers are saying.

It’s been a noisy 2017 in the wonderful world of internal communication. You could even say it’s been #busybusyverybusy, but what will we still be talking about in December 2018 and what will take us through to next year?

Will 2018 be the year you introduce chatbots and fancy widgets (aka “comms bling” and megatrends) or will you be going back to basics and getting line manager communication working brilliantly?

So many questions.

I’d love to know your predictions and the trends you’ve spotted. As ever, you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC. I’m going to pack this article full of resources to help you learn about these areas if they’re new to you.

If you want to get super organised, my free daily planner is available to download to help you get more done.

Grab a cuppa and a mince-pie. This is a long read. In fact, grab two mince-pies.

I asked 20 professional communicators:

Which trend from 2017 looks set to stay in 2018? 

I’ve grouped the answers into themes. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Spoiler: Employee voice features heavily, and I’m delighted to see that’s the case. I hope considering your employees’ voices is essential to your IC planning for next year. How can you actively listen to them? How can you encourage conversations and collaboration through your internal communication?

Here’s what professional communicators say will see them through to 2018…

Technology and tools

I think digital is going to continue to get stronger in 2018. The reason? The number of people I’ve seen introducing apps, plus Facebook’s Workplace is definitely growing” – Advita Patel, B2B Communications Manager, @Advita_p.

I think the digital trend is set to continue and IC practitioners need to be up to date on the latest technology to be able to discuss knowledgeably with their stakeholders what’s suitable for their organisation and what isn’t. I also think in the last 12 months there has been a real sense of confidence amongst IC practitioners about what we can achieve and understanding that we need to look beyond our own function to achieve it. I hope that continues into 2018″ – Helen Deverell, IC Consultant, @helendeverell

Everyone thinking they’re an expert in what tools the business needs. It used to be left to technology, now everyone wants to suggest apps and tools. It is the new “everyone is a comms expert” – Kim England, Global Community Director, @miss_england_19.

280 characters on Twitter! (I’m not yet convinced)” – Andy Johnson, Engagement Specialist, @AndyNJohnson.

I think the digital trend will stay – but with people trying to work out how to integrate different platforms rather than finding one solution” – Jenni Field, Director, Redefining Communications and Chair, CIPR Inside. @mrsjennifield.

Innovation / collaboration platforms online” – Katy Hetherington, Internal Communications Manager, @LadyWriterSWE.

ESNs – Enterprise Social Networks” – Ray Harrison, Intranet Specialist, @rrfh.

Digital workplaces and collaboration tools” – Ross Tarbard, Senior Internal Communications Officer, @rosstarbard.

Measurement

I’d say it’s that old perennial measurement. However, I think the IC community is gradually waking up to the notion that our contribution to organisational impact is often indirect or implied, and we need to negotiate acceptance of this within organisations. We can’t boil everything we do down to money and the bottom line. We need to agree meaningful organisational performance indicators we can truly influence and where the cause and effect is acknowledged to be because of internal communications activity” – Martin Flegg, Internal and Change Communications Specialist @martinflegg.

The awareness and application of measurement within internal comms. It’s invaluable” – Catherine Bissell, Internal Communications & Engagement Consultant, @catbissell 

I cover measurement on my Internal Communication and Strategic Internal Communication Masterclasses.

Focusing on employees and ourselves

Purpose” – Julia Sloan, Head of Comms & Engagement for Culture, Diversity and Inclusion, @julessloan

Employer branding – but i would say that!” – Simon Rutter, @southendscribe.

Working on our personal and professional development, working ‘Agile’ and handing over more power to the people.” – Marsha van Moorsel, Internal Comms Consultant, @mvm94

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Channels and two-way conversations

“Interrogation – I think we’re seeing audiences ask and question to validity of the ‘branded content’ they receive and as a result, the relationship they have with that brand.” – Anne-Marie Lacey, Managing Director, @AM_LaceyPR

“It pre-dates 2017 – the continual diversification of comms channels” – Hayley James, Head of Internal Communications, @haylo_pr.

“Employee engagement through a mobile app and amping up face-to-face engagement” – Jan Fitzgerald, Group Comms Manager @commsjanfitz.

“Moving from employee engagement to employee conversations” – David Manning, Internal Communications & Employee Engagement Lead @aDavid_Manning.

“Storytelling and giving employees a voice” – Kate Shaw, Senior Internal Comms Manager, @kes1981.

Resourcing and talent

“I’m not sure if it’s a ‘trend’ necessarily but further squeezes on resources will force us to communicate more but with less time and capacity” – Adrian Stirrup, Internal Communications Officer, @adrianstirrup.

“I’d say the gig economy will continue. We’ll see more comms professionals choosing to become (and hire) comms contractors providing specialist services such as change comms, exec-comms, film-making, and other consultancy. The expertise of interims enriches the impact of comms teams” – Ejaz Khan, Communications Consultant, @ejazwrites.

Find a new comms job in 2018

Don’t forget you can find a new comms role via the All Things IC jobs board. From internships to Global Comms Directors, there’s often a wide variety of roles and it’s updated constantly.

It costs £99+VAT per week to advertise your role. You can also see the latest vacancies via @AllthingsICjobs.

The 2017 trend comms pros need in 2018

Want to know what I think will get you from 2017 to 2018?

You.

Regardless of the latest must-have piece of kit, trend or company promising to radically transform your IC, you know your employees, culture and organisation better than anyone else.

I’ve published 1100 articles on my blog since 2009 to equip you with ideas to help you analyse and learn about internal communication.

The “trend” you need in 2018 is the intention to invest in yourself.

In January All Things IC consultancy will be five-years-old. Working in this field is a privilege and a joy.

Professional communicators are resilient, tenacious, committed and innovative. They can also be stretched, stressed, under-pressure and exhausted.

Every month I invite practitioners to join me at my Masterclasses or 1-2-1 coaching sessions to learn about internal communication and I’m left with a buzzing brain and feeling proud to be part of this fantastic profession.

The year ahead looks full of challenges, from GDPR to Brexit. It’s an uncertain and volatile world and our role can often be visible and vulnerable.

So to get you to the end of 2018, I encourage you to invest in yourself. Build your network, dream big, learn as much as you can, create opportunities and explore possibilities.

This fresh year ahead could be when you make the change – to start a new role, launch your own business, create a product or service you’ve been imagining, move house – it’s an endless list. Or it could be the year you decide to be brilliant in your current role, to get everything working in the way you want it to be.

Equally as important is your mental health. It’s one of my personal priorities for 2018 and I’ve already put plans in place. Take steps to build your resilience and create time for self-care. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others and invest in your mental wellbeing.

There is no shame in asking for help. If I can, you can.

See Blurt Foundation for free advice and guidance.

Christmas bonus
I’m going to be raising my Masterclass prices at the end of January 2018. If you would like to join me in London next year to focus on you together, do book your place before the end of next month to save.

Explore the website to see what’s on.

Further reading on the All Things IC blog: Are you ready for GDPR and shadow comms?

How to invest in yourself in 2018

Six ways you can invest in yourself for low or no budget:

  1. Listen to comms podcasts. I recommend Talking Comms, FIR, FuturePRoof, csuite podcast, The Holmes Report, Eat, Sleep, Work Repeat and Soulful PR.
  2. Grow your network by joining #commschat on Twitter at 8pm, every Monday, London-time.
  3. Work out loud. Consider Tweeting, blogging or creating content on LinkedIn.
  4. Download my free personal branding toolkit to analyse the way you work. Or download my free daily planner to get more done in your day.
  5. Explore visual content on Pinterest or Instagram related to internal communication.
  6. Come to #thebigyak unconference I’m hosting for in-house comms pros alongside my fellow The IC Crowd co-founders in London on 9 June 2018. Look out for more info coming soon via @theICcrowd.

Here are five ways to invest in yourself that require some budget:

  1. Discover books. Here’s a list of 31 books to learn about comms, PR, social media and personal branding (you could request them for Christmas or from your local library).
  2. Sign up to one of my All Things IC Masterclasses. My upcoming classes include Change Comms, Internal Comms and Writing Skills courses. CIPR and IoIC members can earn CPD. See the Masterclasses website for full information. Don’t forget to use the code NEWYEARBONUS by 30 January 2018 to save 20%.
  3. Ask me to work with you on a 1-2-1 basis through one of my coaching days. Come and spend time with me in London focusing on you, your career, your workload and pick my brain for the day.
  4. Join a professional association. There are lots to choose from including CIPR, Institute of Internal Communication, IABC and PRCA.
  5. If you’re a CIPR member and eligible to, consider applying to be a Chartered Practitioner. I did it in 2017 and found the whole process mentally stimulating.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages, gifts and flowers recently and asked how my son is following his heart operation at GOSH last week. I’ve been so touched by your kindness and concern, thank you.

To all the clients and Masterclass attendees who have been understanding when I’ve had to rearrange my diary at short notice over the past few months to accommodate his numerous medical appointments, thank you.

I’m delighted to report he is back home with his twin and we’re preparing to celebrate their 3rd birthdays over Christmas at home together alongside their five-year-old sister, which is a wish that felt too big to come true.

My fundraising page is now at £1300, which is wonderful. Thank you to everyone who has kindly donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital here in London.

I cannot put into words how thankful I am for the cardiac surgeons and medical professionals there. It’s simply the best present to be able to bring my son home for Christmas and start planning a fresh chapter and healthier future for him.

Thank you to all of my clients and Masterclass attendees for choosing to work together this year, it has been a pleasure.

If you mark Christmas, may God bless you and your families as you celebrate this special time of year and remember those who we miss at times like these.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy and healthy New Year.

Thank you for stopping by and for continuing to read my blog.

Rachel.

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 19 December 2017.

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